The Latest: Health care bill set for vote faces uphill climb
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Republican effort to repeal the Obama health law (all times local):
Republican leaders say they’re pushing toward a Senate vote next Tuesday on resurrecting their troubled health care bill.
But they still face an uphill battle for their top-flight legislative priority because of unhappy GOP senators.
And now they face two new complications.
The possible absence of ailing Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain means the measure would fail if just two GOP senators vote against it. More than that have already publicly threatened to do so.
And the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says a revised GOP bill would produce 22 million added uninsured people by 2026. That’s a huge number that helped scare away Republican support for an initial version of the legislation.
The bill would repeal much of President Barack Obama’s 2010 health care law.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates a revised version of the Senate Republican health care bill would increase the number of uninsured people by 22 million by 2026.
That’s the same number projected to lose coverage under the first version of the legislation.
The huge boost in uninsured people is one reason GOP leaders face an uphill battle in winning over enough Republicans to push their legislation through the Senate.
The new estimate excludes the impact of the most important change Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made in his bill. That’s language by conservative Sen. Ted Cruz letting insurers sell low-cost policies with bare-bones coverage.
The coverage impact of that provision is uncertain. Many think it would drive down the number of sick customers who could afford policies.
Republican senators are hunkering down in an eleventh-hour attempt to prevent their own divisions from pushing their health care bill to oblivion.
Around two dozen of them met for nearly three hours late Wednesday to try resolving their differences over repealing and replacing much of President Barack Obama’s health care law. When it was over, no one offered evidence of specific progress.
Wyoming GOP Sen. John Barrasso says, “We still do have work to do.”
Top Republicans are trying to revive the legislation. But doing that will require support from at least 50 of the 52 GOP senators, a threshold they’ve been short of for weeks.
Aiming to finally resolve the issue, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he’ll force a vote on the legislation early next week.